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Poverty, ageing and development: comparing Brazil and South Africa

Armando Barrientos
Peter Lloyd Sherlock
Julia Mase


Population ageing is unfolding at faster rate in developing countries than it did for currently developed ones. Developing countries have less time to set in place the institutions needed to meet the challenges of population ageing, and are disadvantaged by resource and governance constraints. To date, public policy addressing ageing in developing countries has not been grounded in conceptual frameworks that understand older people and their capabilities as agents of development. Instead, older people are perceived as a burden, and as dependents. e are also lacking studies documenting the dynamic process of individual ageing and its impact on the households older people live in.

The paper is based on a longitudinal dataset of older people and their households in South Africa and Brazil collected as part of a three-year research project under the New Dynamics of Ageing cross-UK Funding Council Research Programme. The paper will summarise and discuss the main findings from this research.

The paper will focus on two main research questions:
1. How do experiences of individual ageing interact with wellbeing, household dynamics, and livelihood patterns?

2. To what extent do social pensions and other anti-poverty programmes offer sustained protection from poverty and vulnerability, and facilitate older people’s contribution to development?

Few studies have provided insights into the impact of individual ageing on household dynamics and livelihood patterns in developing countries. Studies for South Africa and Brazil have observed important changes in the way that households allocate resources which are correlated with age and age related events.

Our paper will be able to examine these changes over time, for example changes in paid employment and unpaid care. These are essential to understand the role of older people in their

Its findings suggested that social pensions may have wider effects on the wellbeing, livelihoods, and social and economic integration of beneficiaries and their households. A longitudinal study enables us to consider these effects in a dynamic setting, for example, what is the impact on households from receiving the pension for the first time, and what is the impact of the loss of the pensioner. In between 2002 and 2008 both countries have introduced large scale child focused transfer programme, and we will be discussion our findings on the interactions existing between social pensions and the new poverty programmes.

Publication Type(s)

Conference Paper

Ten Years of War Against Poverty Conference Papers

Conference: Ten Years of War Against Poverty


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